When the long and difficult Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage finally came to an end in 202, the Roman Senate took special note of the fact that the Carthaginian general Hannibal had induced Macedonia to take Carthage’s side in the conflict. Philip V had signed a treaty of alliance with Hannibal in 215, and after the latter’s decisive defeat by the Romans at the battle of Zama he was welcomed in Macedonia. Although the practical import of Philip’s support of the Carthaginian cause was inconsequential, the fact of Hannibal’s presence in Macedonia caused Rome to view Philip’s new alliance with Antiochus with some suspicion, since Philip had already acted against Rome’s interests.
Roman concern was further heightened when the alliance was characterized to the Senate by the envoys of Rhodes and Pergamum, which were at war with Macedonia, as a direct threat to Rome itself. Antiochus was described as a self-styled second Alexander who had an insatiable appetite for conquest. Note was also taken of the fact that Philip had recently rebuilt his fleet, giving him the capacity to project power abroad. This could be interpreted as suggesting, even though it didn’t seem very likely, that Antiochus and Philip might be planning a joint invasion of Italy. However, such speculation, unsupported by some more definitive evidence despite the belligerent sentiments of some of the senators, was not considered sufficient to obtain a decision of the Senate in favor of a preventative war against the alliance. A commission was therefore sent to Greece and Asia in 200 to find out just what Philip and Antiochus had in mind. The commission was also empowered to seek out prospective allies in the region, particularly among the Greeks for whom they felt a cultural affinity, in the event of a conflict with the Antigonid and Seleucid kings.